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Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Each month, this social spotlight column within Momentum features a different social group of Prime Timers Austin. The intent here is to offer you an understanding of how you can engage to enrich your membership within our organization. For your consideration this month, and just in time for summer, Social Spotlight is highlighting our energetic Prime Timers Austin Walking group!

This group is fairly new, having formed approximately six months ago. The group currently meets for walks on a twice a month schedule. Previously, the group had been meeting on the first and third Thursdays of each month. But, effective with this new month of June, they are transitioning to a different night of the week, with a brand new schedule of first and third Tuesdays instead.

Each planned walk lasts about one hour and covers about two to three miles. “The pace here is very much an easy walk,” says organizer Rodney Almodovar. “This is not power walking by any means!” Walks currently start at 7 pm, since we’re observing Daylight Savings time; however, later in the year, after the fall time change, the group is expected to adapt to an earlier start time of 5:30 pm.

To date, most walks have been staged at Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park near North Lamar and Yager Lane, using the North Trailhead course there. At present, the group has settled on walking a single trail, for the sake of both ease and familiarity. Despite this recent trend in location, the group is welcoming of suggestions of other trails to walk as well. Town Lake and Barton Creek trails have been discussed as possible alternatives by the group. It is important to know that the group has adopted a standard practice of choosing well-established trails around town, rather than venturing out on some “road less traveled.”

The current group includes walkers from north, central and south Austin. For the ease of the membership, there are no specific commitments for participation necessary here. Although there are currently twenty members in the group, attendance varies widely with some members participating more frequently than others. For any given walk outing, attendance is likely to be a small group of around three to six.

This group is very interested in growing their ranks, and welcomes any Prime Timer simply wanting to try this once, to see if it is for you or not. Come alone or bring a friend, whatever you prefer; this welcome to join the group for a walk at any time extends to both members and non-members of Prime Timers Austin. For member convenience and flexibility, communication within the group is managed through an email distribution list that you can easily join or leave at any time.

Despite being on the move, the walks also offer the opportunity for a good deal of conversation to be had along the way. Walkers regularly talk about anything anyone wants to share, commonly including perspectives on news events of the day, as well as other social activities of the participants. In addition, several of the walkers are photographers who use the opportunity to take snapshots of nature along the way.

Recommended attire for walking with us would be comfortable clothing, whatever that may mean for you personally. Tennis shoes are highly recommended as footwear. There is absolutely no need for more extreme attire, such as protective gloves or hiking boots. The only other recommendation from the group would be for you to plan to bring a bottle of water or other suitable beverage, to refresh yourself along the way.

Although most organized walks to date have tended to be in North Austin, Rodney is seeking someone to help organize and lead walks primarily on the south side of the city. A shared leadership approach would complement walks Rodney plans to continue leading on the north side of town and would offer members more options for participation that would be responsive to different geographical preferences. “Ideally,” Rodney adds, “we would hope to evolve to having a monthly recurring schedule to walk on first and third Tuesdays on the north side, and the second and fourth Tuesdays on the south side.” While this would be his current desire, anyone willing to help organize walks on the south side of town would be welcome to establish whatever schedule would work best for himself as well as other South Austin group members specifically.

If you’re ready to join the group, or simply want more information about Prime Timers Austin Walkers, you’re encouraged to reach out to Rodney; you can find his contact information in the events listing on page 9. Rodney is also the designated board member for receipt of any other outdoor activity suggestions that have not already been organized with Prime Timers. So feel free to share other new group ideas with him as well.

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